I just finished watching Guardians of the Galaxy. It isn't new by this point, so I am going to spoil it for you. Since it took in $635 million worldwide, it is safe to say that audiences in general really loved it. I have a much less rosy response.
The movie has some normal superhero movie flaws. The plot is absurd. The villains are ludicrous and hard to take seriously. There are plenty of points that are meant to be emotional, heartwrenching, or full of tension but instead become a joke because the writing is weak. (Seriously, dying in space from being in hard vacuum and you save yourself by phoning someone, who picks you up in five seconds? From across the galaxy? Why even pretend to have a plot?)
I often enjoy interesting tech ideas in science fiction books and movies, but this one is a mess. Some people use knives to fight, some people use laser cannons, and some people use pencils that can fly through the air and kill hundreds of enemies (and ships) in a single second. It is ridiculous.
However, it is a superhero movie about a talking tree with magic powers, a cybernetic raccoon with super intelligence, and two random guys who don't seem to be much good at anything really, but they are in the movie anyway.
Oh yeah, also there is a woman on the team. Which is where all the trouble starts.
See, I get that when you have an intellectual property that has a five person hero team with one female on it, you don't have gender balance. That is the breaks, when using specific source material. But when you are making up a universe around those heroes you could at least try a little not to have everyone be male, right?
And okay, fine, the movie portrays nearly all men, but at least the female lead gets to be treated reasonably, right? Because while I don't like the male dominated universe, surely the writers and editors wouldn't just have the sole female protagonist be the target of gendered slurs for no reason, right?
For some reason the raccoon, when being introduced to the female lead, refers to her as a broad. He could have just used the word she, he could have asked about the green skinned lady, or found some other way to refer to her. But no, lets just slip in a gendered slur for no reason. To establish the raccoon as a tough guy, or something. Because it is totally worth torpedoing the female character to establish a male one, right?
Even more egregious though is a scene near the movie's end where one of the male team calls her a whore. Not because he is angry, or because she has done something that might suggest promiscuity or sex work, but just because why not. It is just casually tossed in there without any justification or sense. Seriously people? Use her fucking name!
This stuff really bothers me. I get irritable at movies that have preposterous science sometimes. I grump at plots that are ridiculous. But otherwise I had a reasonably good time and suspended disbelief long enough to enjoy the ridiculous scenes and pretty visuals.
But when writers toss in garbage like that it just breaks the movie for me and makes me sad. That shit had to go past editors and public relations people and nobody did anything about it. Nobody even realized how unnecessary and shitty this kind of writing is. Is there really a demographic who wants silly space romps and insists that women in them need to be randomly degraded for absolutely no reason? Are we pandering to those assholes still?
We can do so much better than this.